I write this letter to encourage the Yachats community to vote for Leslie Vaaler for mayor.
Leslie brings a tremendous amount of integrity to everything she does. She is diligent in her work and preparation, always open to new ideas, and someone with a genuine desire for clear communication between the local government and the community.
When I served on City Council with her, I valued deeply how hard she worked to find solutions to challenges our community faces.
Council repeatedly encounters issues with which individual council members may have little familiarity. Water rates! Vacation rentals! Municipal insurance policies! Street design!
Issues keep coming, even though few people arrive on council with expertise in any of these areas. It never stopped impressing me how, in the span of a week or two, Leslie could become an informed, independent decision maker on any complex topic.
She accomplishes this feat — time and again — through diligent study and by consulting experts. Leslie does all this without ever seeking credit or attention for it, and more importantly, she never takes her eye off an important ball — that Yachats is a special community where cookie cutter solutions won’t always work.
We want to build on what makes our community unique, but without reinventing the wheel every time. Striking that balance challenges any decision maker here. Leslie is up to that task. She is exceptionally capable and in touch with the community.
I recognize that I’ve described how Leslie fulfills her current role, which differs from the position for which she is running. To that I say two things:
First, I’ve always been a firm believer that the best indicator of future performance is past performance. I trust record over rhetoric.
Leslie’s words and actions align. They have for as long as I’ve known her. She is a person of the highest integrity.
She is the councilor she said two years ago she would be. She will be the mayor she says she will be.
Second, leadership comes in many forms. In addition to being an attentive listener, she leads by example because she has the willingness and courage to make tough choices from a place of integrity.
Sometimes that means voting differently than one’s colleagues, as she has on many occasions. To me that is a sign of strength and being cool under pressure — traits I appreciate in a leader.
Furthermore, leadership follows personality and values.
Yachats would be well-served to have a mayor as kind, inclusive, and thoughtful as Leslie Vaaler.